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Marlene Dietrich: The Bisexual, Anti-Fascist Face of Free Germany

Greta Garbo, and Monroe/Dietrich and DiMaggio

Google Doodle-Marlene Dietrich

Today’s Google Doodle is the iconic Marlene Dietrich honoring her on what would have been her 116th birthday. Dietrich was a German actress whose career spanned nearly eighty years, she was able to reinvent herself time and time again to keep up with and stay ahead of the trends.

Dietrich started off as a silent film star in the 1920s in Germany and immigrated to Hollywood in the 30s due to the success of The Blue Angel, a UFA/Paramount Pictures production.

One of the things she was well known for in Hollywood was her gender norm-bashing. Dietrich was often dressed in men’s suits and was a bisexual woman with one of her most famous relationships being with Mercedes de Acosta, a Cuban lesbian playwright. Dietrich was also known to use the term “sewing circle” to refer to “describe the underground, closeted lesbian and bisexual film actresses and their relationships in Hollywood, United States, particularly during Hollywood’s golden age from the 1910s to the 1950s” according to Alex Madsen in the book The Sewing Circle: Hollywood’s Greatest Secret: Female Stars Who Loved Other Women.

The film Morocco, which is the one the doodle is modeled off of features the first lesbian kiss scene in a Hollywood movie back in 1930.

During WWII she was a high-profile entertainer in the US and was also noted for housing German and French exiles. She was outspoken about being opposed to Nazism and Hitler, to the point where the Nazi government tried to lure her back to Germany several times in order to silence her. Instead, Dietrich filed for U.S. citizenship, sold war bonds, gave anti-Nazis broadcasts in German, and helped people escape Germany when she could.

The doodle itself was drawn by RuPaul Drag Race legend, Sasha Velour, who is a huge fan of Ms. Dietrich.

“She was a wild original!” Sasha said. “Despite the pressures of the time, she followed her own course, especially in terms of politics and gender.“As a drag queen, that’s particularly inspiring to me. Plus, she just had this power to her…in every role she’s mysterious and strong, brilliant. That’s what I aspire to be when I step on the stage.”

Dietrich’s legacy to film and fashion and queer identity in Hollywood remains iconic long after her death at the age of 90 in 1992. She was a woman with big energy and big appetites for love and passion. It is no wonder we are still talking about her today.

(image: Google/Sasha Velour)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.